“‘What a lioness was your mother among the lions!
She lay among young lions; 2 she reared her cubs.
19:3 She reared one of her cubs; he became a young lion.
He learned to tear prey; he devoured people. 3
19:4 The nations heard about him; he was trapped in their pit.
They brought him with hooks to the land of Egypt. 4
19:5 “‘When she realized that she waited in vain, her hope was lost.
She took another of her cubs 5 and made him a young lion.
19:6 He walked about among the lions; he became a young lion.
He learned to tear prey; he devoured people.
The land and everything in it was frightened at the sound of his roaring.
19:8 The nations – the surrounding regions – attacked him.
They threw their net over him; he was caught in their pit.
they brought him to the king of Babylon;
they brought him to prison 9
so that his voice would not be heard
any longer on the mountains of Israel.
1 tn Heb “lift up.”
2 sn Lions probably refer to Judahite royalty and/or nobility. The lioness appears to symbolize the Davidic dynasty, though some see the referent as Hamutal, the wife of Josiah and mother of Jehoahaz and Zedekiah. Gen 49:9 seems to be the background for Judah being compared to lions.
3 tn Heb “a man.”
5 sn The identity of this second lion is unclear; the referent is probably Jehoiakim or Zedekiah. If the lioness is Hamutal, then Zedekiah is the lion described here.
6 tc The Hebrew text reads “knew,” but is apparently the result of a ר-ד (dalet-resh) confusion. For a defense of the emendation, see L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 1:284. However, Allen retains the reading “widows” as the object of the verb, which he understands in the sense of “do harm to,” and translates the line: “He did harm to women by making them widows” (p. 282). The line also appears to be lacking a beat for the meter of the poem.
7 tc The Hebrew text reads “widows” instead of “strongholds,” apparently due to a confusion of ר (resh) and ל (lamed). L. C. Allen (Ezekiel [WBC], 1:284) favors the traditional text, understanding “widows” in the sense of “women made widows.” D. I. Block, (Ezekiel [NICOT], 1:602) also defends the Hebrew text, arguing that the image is that of a dominant male lion who takes over the pride and by copulating with the females lays claim to his predecessor’s “widows.”
8 tn Or “They put him in a neck stock with hooks.” The noun סּוּגַר (sugar), translated “collar,” occurs only here in the Bible. L. C. Allen and D. I. Block point out a Babylonian cognate that refers to a device for transporting prisoners of war that held them by their necks (D. I. Block, Ezekiel [NICOT], 1:597, n. 35; L. C. Allen, Ezekiel [WBC], 1:284). Based on the Hebrew root, the traditional rendering had been “cage” (cf. ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
9 tc The term in the MT occurs only here and in Eccl 9:12 where it refers to a net for catching fish. The LXX translates this as “prison,” which assumes a confusion of dalet and resh took place in the MT.